The Bundesliga is winding down, and while the title race was wrapped up weeks ago, the race for Europe and relegation battle is coming down to the final matchdays. Will Schalke grab the final spot in next season's Champions League, or will they be pipped by Eintracht Frankfurt or Freiburg? Can Hoffenheim or Augsburg dig themselves out of the relegation zone? Saturday is the second to last match of the season, and there's still a lot to play for.
Saturday, May 11
Mainz vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Both sides have seen their hopes of Europe fade in recent weeks and must now settle for meaningless games in the final weeks. I'm a big Adam Szalai fan, and it might be tough for Mainz to hold onto him this summer, especially if he ends the season on a high note. Borussia Mönchengladbach might go looking for a new forward this summer if Lucien Favre doesn't feel that Luuk De Jong can get the job done next season. It'll depend on how well De Jong links up with the incoming Max Kruse. The Dutch forward can go a long way towards securing his future with good performances in his final two games.
Prediction: Mainz 1 - 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Schalke vs Stuttgart - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Schalke are a better team than Stuttgart, and they need to prove it on Saturday. Three points will move them ever-so-closer to qualifying for the Champions League next year. The mood around the club will get a boost with Julian Draxler signing a long term extension, too. Stuttgart have nothing to play for until the DFB Pokal Final on June 1. I can see them "not showing up" here.
Prediction: Schalke 3 - 1 Stuttgart
Bayer Leverkusen vs Hannover - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Another match where both teams are basically settled for the year. The only thing to keep an eye on here is Stefan Kießling's face against Robert Lewandowski for the golden boot.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 3 - 1 Hannover
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Nürnberg - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
This is a huge game for Fortuna Düsseldorf, while Nürnberg are now safe and have nothing to play for. Düsseldorf are level on points with Augsburg for the relegation playoff place, but they're out of the relegation zone due to having a better goal differential. Can they avoid fellow promotion team Greuther Fürth's fate and escape relegation?
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 1 - 1 Nürnberg
Greuther Fürth vs Freiburg - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
This is the game! I feel it in my bones! Greuther Fürth will not leave the Bundesliga without winning in front of their home supporters. Freiburg dropping these points would end any (slim) hope of qualifying for the Champions League and put a near "must win" game next weekend against Schalke. (Honestly, Freiburg will probably win here. I don't not want Freiburg to win, but I want Fürth to get a home win!)
Prediction: Greuther Fürth 1 - 0 Freiburg
Bayern Munich vs Augsburg - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
What's to say here? Bayern played only three regular players (and one was out of position) last weekend against Borussia Dortmund and came away with a 1-1 draw. They'll have no problem with Augsburg.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 4 - 0 Augsburg
Hoffenheim vs Hamburg - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
The seconds are ticking away on Hoffenheim's adventure in the top flight of German soccer. Three points are almost a necessity this weekend with a trip to Dortmund on the table for next week. Markus Gisdol has pulled the team within reaching distance of safety, but the odds are still stacked against them. For Hamburg, failure to get at least a point will doom their Europa League chances, and it's likely that if they don't win they have zero shot at Europe next season.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 1 - 2 Hamburg
Wolfsburg vs Borussia Dortmund - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
The match has no true meaning as both sides are secure in their current situations in the league. The biggest thing for Borussia Dortmund is the following: They must avoid injuries.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1 - 3 Borussia Dortmund
Werder Bremen vs Eintracht Frankfurt - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Eintracht Frankfurt can clinch a spot in Europe next year with a victory over Werder Bremen on Saturday. A loss by Werder will see them in a relegation battle on the final matchday. If Armin Veh gets Frankfurt into the Europa League in their first season back in the Bundesliga, it would definitely be one of the most impressive accomplishments this season by any manager. Also, Alexander Meier isn't getting enough publicity for his unbelievable season.
Prediction: Werder Bremen 1 - 2 Eintracht Frankfurt